Clare Valley vineyards: South Australia’s premium wine region

Clare Valley is a relatively small but hugely significant Australian wine growing region since it competes with nearby Eden Valley for producing the country’s finest Riesling – the drier styles of which are revered around the world.

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Undoubtedly one of the country’s most picturesque wine regions, Clare Valley vineyards are the northernmost within the Mount Lofty Ranges – around 130km from the state capital of Adelaide in South Australia, where most of the country’s premium wines are derived from.Although the first vines were planted here in the early 19th century, modern-day Clare Valley is home to a collection of around 40 largely boutique style wineries scattered across a 40km corridor between the towns of Auburn and Clare.

A preferred way to explore Clare Valley vineyards is by taking the so-called Riesling Trail that plots a 36km course through the region while visiting all of the area’s main towns including Leasingham, Watervale, Penwortham, and Sevenhill and many other attractions.As part of Australia’s premier long-distance cycling trails, the 800km long Mawson Trail which traverses the Mount Lofty and Flinders Ranges, it is possible to cycle the Riesling Trail in less than three hours – although we would recommend taking a more leisurely approach.

Many of the wineries in the area’s exquisite cellar doors offer home-grown seasonal produce, on-site restaurant dining and tapas style food and wine pairings that can be enjoyed while passing attractions such as the ancient Jesuit Monastery and winery at Sevenhill where the first vines were planted in 1851.

At Wine Paths, our local expert can organise exclusive tours of Clare Valley vineyards and beyond, including elaborate tastings, luxury stays, fine dining experiences and some unique activities.

All of our private tours can be tailor made to meet your exact requirements, ensuring that every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the matter at hand – sampling superb wines surrounded by Australia’s stunning scenery.As mentioned, Riesling, and to a lesser extent Australia’s signature Shiraz (known elsewhere as Syrah), dominate crops in Clare Valley. The Riesling in particular is internationally recognised as a benchmark for quality – renowned for its depth of classic citrus fruit flavours, healthy dose of minerals and a crisp, natural acidity that allows it to age gracefully for decades.

Red wines from Clare Valley vineyards based on Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are also highly regarded for their heavy concentration of dark fruit flavours and colour intensity – while Chardonnay, Merlot and Semillon are also successfully grown in the region.The region’s wineries range from farm sheds and stone cottages to heritage buildings and stat-of-the-art marvels of modern architecture – some with their own manicured gardens and spectacular postcard views of the surrounding countryside.

Many of the buildings left by early European settlers have been converted into boutique guest houses, restaurants and art galleries – while the area’s history can be explored more deeply at places such as the Clareville Museum and Old Police Station Museum.Culture enthusiasts will also be drawn to the nearby town of Kapunda, which has its own heritage trail that meanders through the town’s most historic places and buildings with stories of early pioneers.Clare Valley stages a number of events throughout the year, ranging from classic country fairs to sumptuous food and wine festivals – including the annual Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend in May where visitors can enjoy the rare privilege of being the first to sample the year’s vintage.

If you are interested in sampling Riesling from a Clare Valley vineyard, visit our Australia destination page for more information and inspirational ideas before planning a bespoke trip.

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